Organisers Finally Respond To Marvel Stadium Seat Debacle
Fans whose views were impeded in expensive ground-level plastic seats at Thursday night's Aussie Boomers vs Team USA exhibition match at Marvel Stadium remain genuinely upset.
Late on Friday afternoon, Basketball Australia and TEG Live issued a joint statement about the public slamming of the event.
The statement claims that the feedback from the 51,000 people who attended the game was "strongly positive", but did acknowledge the spectators who felt their seats did not meet expectations.
"Of the 11,000 fans who had purchased floor seating to last night's game, only 200 people were located," the statement said.
"They were relocated promptly and without issue and just two refunds were requested."
There is now interest from lawyers, with one firm flagging a potential class action to 10 News First.
Meanwhile, fans whose views were impeded weren't made to feel much better by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, who was seated in the white plastic seats where the view was impeded last night.
On Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday morning, McLachlan -- whose employer, the AFL, owns Marvel Stadium -- downplayed the lack of direct sight and said he thought "the quality of the video boards was great".
But fans who paid for courtside tickets were much less content to watch the action on the video boards as Gil McLachlan. They wanted to view the actual game.
"It was a long way to go to watch a game of basketball on a screen," said Wade Shipard, 10 daily's basketball-loving video lead, who travelled from Sydney to watch the game.
"I was seated in a row of white chairs near the back, which is why my tickets were $150 each and Russell Crowe's were $1,500.
When this week's exhibition matches in Melbourne were first advertised, promotional images like the one above showed tiered seating on the playing surface. The seating which appeared to slope gently upwards as you move back from the court.
This proved not to be the case.
"The playing surface of Marvel Stadium is raised slightly in the middle -- I assume so water drains outwards -- and that meant we were a fair way lower than the court," Shipard said.
"I couldn't see the floor or the players' legs and when the ball was bouncing I couldn't see it. In front of me was a family of five who spent $750 on their tickets. They had three kids who could barely see a thing and I felt really bad for them."
Eventually, Shipard found a few spare seats about 10 rows back in the permanent stadium seating, and suggested to the family in front of him that they join them.
"We could see the floor and the ball after that, and the family of five were loving it" he said.
"The actual contest was great. Australia had a crack [they lost by the respectable score of 98-88], but there was a good atmosphere overall.
"And the spectacle was great, but had we stayed in the same seats, it would have been junk."
Shipard said that people weren't "foaming at the mouth angry" at the seat situation, but there was "a lot of frustration".
And few were more frustrated than actor Russell Crowe.
This series has been a bit of a marketing debacle from the get-go. Early promo images showed a bunch of players who never turned up, and TEG refunded tickets to those who felt they had been misled.
At least their Bogut promise wasn't bogus. Image: Supplied.
Whether they do the same for more than two people who had bad views last night remains to be seen. But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now on the case, as they were with the advertised players who never turned up.
"We’ve now added to that investigation whether or not consumers have been misled over the seating and the quality of the seating," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said on Friday.